The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently released their annual report on the State of Obesity, including new statistics on the rate of childhood and youth obesity. After decades of rising childhood obesity, the rate has leveled off, but, as the report points out, “is still alarmingly high compared with a generation ago.”
The new data gives some encouraging signs. Childhood obesity rates have declined in areas that have implemented multi-faceted strategies to make healthy food and physical activity part of schools, communities and children’s daily life. Nutrition programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program help lower obesity rates in children.
But many of the underlying causes of childhood obesity remain the norm. Fewer than half of American children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and two thirds of American youth consume a sugary beverage each day. In addition, schools will have a long road to reverse several years of trends toward replacing recess and physical activity with academic instruction, particularly for older children.
Healthy Schools Campaign is committed to working with schools in Chicago and nationally on making sure that healthy food and physical activity are part of every child’s daily life and school day.